Should children below 13 years of age be allowed to join the social networking websites? It has been one of the long debated issues globally, especially in the wake of growing case of cyber bulling, child pornography and trolling. In India, the government is already making efforts to prevent children under 13 years from accessing the social networking websites. However, a new study conducted by ASSOCHAM reveals about 73 percent of children under 13 years of age in India are using the social networking websites such as Facebook.
The study was conducted in metro as well as tier 2 cities of in India including Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmadabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow and Dehradun. Survey further points out about 75 percent of the parents are aware about their children in the age group of 8-13 years using Facebook. Another shocker is about 82 percent of parents provided wrong information to create a Facebook account for their children.
“Nearly 25 percent of 13-year-olds, 22% percentof 11-year-olds and 15 percent of 10-year-old are on Facebook, while 5-10 percent of 8 and 9 year-olds are also active on the site.” Facebook has emerged as the most preferred social networking site among this age group. Other sites like flick.com, Google Plus, Pinterest are being used by 85 percent of children in the age group of 10-16 years,” adds the survey.
Commenting on the survey findings, Mr. D.S Rawat, General Secretary of ASSOCHAM, says, “Children are gaining access to social media sites at a younger age, which could expose them to content, people or situations that are out of their depth.” He points out that such a high number of children below under 13 years of age on social networking sites could lead increase in cases of cyber bullying, which could have adverse psychological impact on them.
ASSOCHAM's new survey comes months after the Delhi High Court took a serious note of children below 13 years having accounts on the social networking websites. The court asked Facebook to put a disclaimer on its home page stating that children below 13 years cannot open account on the social network. The Delhi HC also rapped the Indian government for not having adequate laws to prevent children from abused through the social networking sites.
Do you think social networking websites are safe for children under 13 years of age? What's your take on parents creating accounts for their children? Let us know your views in the comments section below or @1987kulbhushan